Revellers have packed out pubs this afternoon as they get the last rounds in before England nosedives into a second lockdown.
Britons today are stocking up on clothes and homeware, getting ready for their last night out and squeezing in a final gym session for what is the ‘last hurrah’ for millions.
From midnight, people across England will find their freedoms curtailed as they are told to remain indoors under draconian measures for the next four weeks.
The shutters will come down on pubs, restaurants and non-essential stores by the end of the day, signalling the start of yet more swingeing restrictions.
Punters have been savouring their last pint before bars across England close at 10pm – as many landlords warn this could be last orders for their pubs which may not reopen with the hospitality industry at breaking point.
Drinkers are enjoying half price pints after Wetherspoons launched a four-day sale with pints of real ale for just 99p in a bid to clear stock before the winter lockdown.
Pubs up and down the country have followed suit as they try to get rid of beer or risk pouring it down the drain.
Hordes of shoppers have also been seen queuing outside retail stores including Primark and Ikea up and down the high streets.
And gym bunnies are hitting the treadmills and weights rack for one last session before they are forced back into home workouts for the next month.
Drinkers are enjoying cut price pints after Wetherspoons launched a four-day sale with pints of real ale for just 99p in a bid to clear stock before the winter lockdown. Many pubs followed suit
The shutters will come down on pubs, restaurants and non-essential stores by the end of the day, signalling the start of yet more swingeing restrictions. Pictured, drinkers in Borough Market
People enjoy afternoon drinks at Borough Market in London before pubs close tonight
People in London Bridge savoured their last pints in a pub for a while as last orders are called tonight
Bars throughout Borough Market were packed this lunchtime as people enjoyed a drink and bite to eat
Ahead of pubs closing this evening, people made sure they booked a table at bars in London
Everyone made the most of the weather in central London this afternoon as they got the drinks in ahead of pubs closing for another month
Savouring every last drop: Tonight, last orders will be called at pubs before they close for at least four weeks
Many landlords warn this could be last orders for their pubs which may not reopen with the hospitality industry at breaking point. Pictured, Borough Market this afternoon
Friends in London will not be able to meet at a pub for at least another four weeks when the lockdown kicks in
Friends and loved ones gathered at pubs today – as they may not be able to see one another over the next month if they live apart
There were huge queues outside the Primark store in Sunderland this morning
Members of the public queuing at IKEA in Greenwich in south east London this morning
What are the rules for shops from Thursday?
Shops that can stay open:
- Food shops
- Garden centres
- Retailers providing essential goods and services
Shops that must shut (including but not limited to):
- Electronics stores
- Vehicle showrooms
- Travel agents
- Betting shops
- Auction houses
- Car washes
- Tobacco and vape shops
Takeaway pints at pubs and restaurants in England will be available during the new coronavirus lockdown from tomorrow, but it won’t be as simple as last time.
Following a government U-turn on businesses selling takeaway alcohol, pubs will be able to sell takeaway drinks to customers who order online or by phone, text or post.
Customers will not be allowed to enter the premises, but they can enjoy a socially distanced pint with someone from another household in an outdoor public space.
Although outlets will be allowed to sell takeaway food, Downing Street had previously said they would be banned from selling alcoholic drinks to take away.
But new rules state pubs will be able to sell drinks to takeaway customers, provided they pre-order them for collection and as long as they do not go into the building.
People have also flocked to shopping centres to buy Christmas presents ahead of the second lockdown, the boss of a major mall operator has said.
Chris Geaves, chief executive of Sovereign Centros – which operates sites from Glasgow to Southampton and includes the giant MetroCentre complex in Gateshead, said the shopping centres have been ‘incredibly busy’ in the last few days.
He said: ‘With lockdown from tomorrow, people have thought ‘Crikey, I need to get out there shopping’.
‘It’s very positive and anecdotally, footfall has been strong, with big brands really having strong sales over the last few days.’
He said footfall at the MetroCentre last week was around 250,000, up 30% week-on-week, although still lower than 2019 figures for the same time of year.
Mr Geaves said he still believes retailers will have a strong pre-Christmas trading period if England does come out of lockdown on December 2.
How will ordering a pint work under tomorrow’s new Covid lockdown?
- Pre-order a pint online or by phone call, text message or post
- Go to the pub to pick it up, ensuring you do not enter the premises. You can stay in your car if it is passed over ‘without the purchaser or any other person leaving the vehicle’
- Enjoy the pint in a public outdoor space with up to one person from another household (your gathering can be a maximum of two people)
‘I’m hoping we will get a good Christmas for our retailers,’ he said. ‘We have to look after our shoppers and make sure they remain safe in all our venues.
‘If we come out on December 2, with Christmas condensed into two to three weeks, we could find centres very busy, in which case we will have to look at how me manage the shoppers’ needs and make sure they can be safe.’
One difference from the spring lockdown will be that some shops will be able to remain open for click-and-collect trade this time, he said.
Scores of eager shoppers queued outside Primark in Newcastle city centre this morning to get their hands on bargains before the new rules come into force.
The line began to form at around 7am and snaked around the corner of the store as last minute buyers were out in force ahead of restrictions which come into place at midnight tonight.
The rules will see all non essential shops including clothes stores shut for a month.
People have taken to social media this morning to lament the closure of gyms, as they enjoy their last workout.
A petition to keep gyms open has gained more than half a million signatures as furious Brits slam closures which they say will impact their physical and mental health.
In Lincoln, a shopper was filmed buying huge quantities of rice, pasta and crisps at an Aldi store.
Stuart Darben went into the store in Newark Road at around 11am on November 2 with his partner when he spotted a fellow shopper at the tills with a conveyor belt full of rice, pasta and crisps.
Rationing starts again in Tesco
Supermarkets are rationing their goods again as customers panic buy before lockdown.
Tesco supermarket in Ely, Cambs, has put limits on essential goods, such as toilet rolls, flour and eggs, as shoppers panic buy before lockdown begins.
Supermarkets have been urging people not to stockpile items, but customers appear to be taking no notice and are stocking up on non-essential items and cupboard goods, just as they did back in March before the first national lockdown.
Home delivery slots are also getting booked up, with many customers struggling to get slots and taking to Twitter to complain.
He said he couldn’t believe how much the shopper was buying, adding: ‘It was really busy in the shop. I was gobsmacked with what I saw and the shopper in front of me was too. I could see another staff member looking at the till but I don’t think he wanted to say anything.
‘I turned to my partner and said, this shouldn’t be happening, it’s not right. I even said to the check-out operator, is it right he should be doing that?’
Theresa May led a furious Tory assault on the national lockdown plan today accusing the government of mangling figures to force the policy through.
The former PM delivered a damning assessment of Boris Johnson’s handling of the situation, saying a controversial claim that deaths could hit 4,000 a day by next month was ‘wrong before it was even used’.
She said Mr Johnson – who scuttled out of the Commons as she started speaking – must open up to more scrutiny, warning that the extraordinary national restrictions coming into force at midnight will ‘shatter livelihoods’.
The intervention came as a slew of Conservative MPs vowed to rebel, despite the premier begging them to trust him, insisting he cannot ‘risk British lives’ by avoiding action.
Kicking off the stormy debate, the PM said he never thought he would be imposing such draconian measures – including ordering people to stay at home and shutting non-essential retail, bars and restaurants for a month.
But Mr Johnson said he had been ‘confronted’ with the prospect of the NHS ‘collapsing’ under the weight of coronavirus patients, and had looked at the grim experience of European countries suffering another peak.
‘I’m not prepared to take the risk with the lives of the British people,’ he said.
However, in her stinging rebuke to the government, Mrs May said: ‘It appears the decision to go towards this lockdown was partly, mainly, to some extent based on the prediction of 4,000 deaths a day.
‘Yet if you look at the trajectory showing in that graph that went to 4,000 deaths a day, we would have reached 1,000 deaths a day by the end of October.
‘The average in the last week of October was 259, by my calculations. Each of those deaths is a sadness and our thoughts are with the families, but it’s not 1,000 deaths a day.
‘So the prediction was wrong before it was even used. And this leads to a problem for the Government – for many people it looks as if the figures are chosen to support the policy rather than the policy being based on the figures.’
While Sir Keir Starmer’s backing for the lockdown means the PM is assured it will be rubber-stamped by MPs, he is scrambling to contain a rising tide of anger on his own benches.
Despite government whips hoping they had limited the scale of the mutiny to just a handful, a series politicians of broke cover this morning to say they will oppose the squeeze.
Scores of eager shoppers queued outside Primark in Newcastle city centre this morning
The line began to form at around 7am and snaked around the corner of the Primark store today
Queuing traffic heading in to Bristol city centre today as people get last minute shopping done before non-essential shops shut tomorrow
A man was left gobsmacked after spotting a fellow shopper buying trolley-loads of rice, pasta and crisps at an Aldi store in Lincoln ahead of the start of the new nationwide lockdown
Shoppers could be seen queuing up outside Primark on Commercial road in Portsmouth this afternoon
Shoppers in Northumberland Street in Newcastle, ahead of the national lockdown
Shoppers in Northumberland Street in Newcastle hit the stores as they opened this morning
Keen shoppers on Newcastle have been getting some last-minute bargains and Christmas gifts before the shops close
Liverpool city centre was a hive of activity as England heads into another gloomy lockdown
People were out and about in Birmingham City Centre on the eve of England’s second lockdown this afternoon
London’s Oxford Street was packed with people at lunchtime today as they made the most of the last day of shopping
Last minute shoppers stock up on essentials before lockdown at Costco cash and carry at the Lakeside retail park in West Thurrock
The Costco cash and carry at the Lakeside retail park in West Thurrock, Essex, was buzzing with shoppers today
John Lewis will axe 1,500 head office staff in cost-cutting drive to save £300m
John Lewis has announced today it is to cut 1,500 head office jobs in an effort to bolster the business in the devastating coronavirus pandemic.
The John Lewis Partnership revealed the cuts as part of the next phase of its five-year plan to return it to sustainable profits by 2025.
It is the latest blow of the high street bloodbath consuming retail in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
John Lewis – famous for its Christmas ads – is widely seen as a benchmark for High Street performance in the UK.
But it received a serious blow earlier this year after its Waitrose arm was ditched by Ocado in favour of Marks & Spencer.
Unlike the last national lockdown in March, schools and colleges will remain open under the new controls, which are due to run to December 2.
However, pubs and restaurants will be forced to close, except for takeaways and deliveries, as will gyms, entertainment venues and non-essential shops.
People will be banned from socialising with other households indoors, and only allowed to meet one other person from another household outdoors.
There has been criticism, however, over rules which mean children’s grassroots sports will be banned outside school settings.
Some Tories have also hit out at a ban on communal worship, which has meant church services marking Remembrance Sunday have had to be cancelled.
Dominic Raab today claimed England will resort to the whack-a-mole strategy of fighting coronavirus outbreaks when the national lockdown ends on December 2.
The Foreign Secretary admitted the blanket national intervention — which are likely to be rubber-stamped by MPs this afternoon during a crunch vote — was ‘reluctantly’ accepted as a last-ditch attempt to get a grip on the second wave.
Mr Raab stressed the economic implications had been considered before Boris Johnson announced the drastic move on Saturday night, amid dire warnings the NHS could run out beds within weeks and up to 4,000 people could die each day unless tough action is taken.
But he said: ‘We didn’t want to do it, we’ve reluctantly done it as a last resort, and come December 2 we will revert to the tailored geographically-targeted approach because economically that is less painful.’
This comes as Britain today recorded another 492 Covid-19 victims in the highest daily death toll since May — but infections are no longer spiralling.
People queued outside the Essex Costco to get supplies ahead of the impending second lockdown
Car parks were full and there were tailbacks as a result of queuing traffic heading in to Bristol city centre today
Despite the gloomy weather, shoppers queued outside a Primark store in Liverpool this morning
People emerged from the stores laden with bags of shopping today – before they are forced to stay in from tomorrow
Under the new lockdown, stores – like this Ikea in Greenwich, south London, will be forced to close
Social media has also gone into overdrive this morning as people share details of their last shopping trip, workout or pint
M&S shoppers book slots
Shoppers at Marks & Spencer can now jump the lockdown supermarket queue by booking a timed slot to enter the chain’s food halls.
With lockdown two starting on Thursday amid plunging temperatures, dismal scenes of supermarket queues and already booked out online delivery slots look set to become all too familiar once again.
Dubbed ‘Sparks Book and Shop’, M&S shoppers with or without a Sparks loyalty card can now visit its website and book a guaranteed time slot to shop at their local store without having to queue.
After a trial across 80 stores in Scotland and Wales, the scheme is now available to use across all M&S’s 566 food halls and larger stores containing food halls.
Dominic Roberts, a store manager at M&S in Pontardulais, said: ‘At a time when it’s been hard to plan ahead, customers like the certainty of being able to book a slot and we’ve received great feedback about the service – especially as restrictions have increased.’
The move may prove popular for those who like to do a physical shop rather than head online to get groceries in.
Department of Health figures show the number of laboratory-confirmed victims today is the most since 500 were announced on May 19.
More than 1,000 infected Brits were succumbing to the disease each day during the peak of the first wave in the spring.
But infections have risen just 1.9 per cent in a week, with government officials today declaring another 25,177 new positive tests.
Government advisers say the true number of daily cases occurring during the worst parts of March and April was around 100,000 — but Number 10’s lacklustre testing system meant millions went undetected.
Some top scientists believe the flare-up of Covid-19, which kicked off when schools and universities reopened in September, has already died down.
One expert yesterday argued cases were ‘flatlining’.
Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London, today sparked hope by claiming data from his team’s symptom-tracking study shows the country has ‘passed the peak of the second wave’.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, Public Health England’s medical director, said: ‘Sadly we know that the trend in deaths will continue to rise over the next few weeks. As the new measures come into place it will take some time for the impact to be seen.
‘We have all made sacrifices and they have helped to save many lives. Let’s stick with it to keep our loved ones safe. The fewer people you see, the more you’ll help stop the spread.’
Social media has gone into overdrive today as people share details of their last shopping trip, workout or pint.
Signs outside Wetherspoons today read: ‘Ahead of the four-week lockdown, rather than waste real ale, it has been reduced to 99p per pint.’
Spokesman Eddie Gershon said that ‘any real ales not sold between now and lockdown will have to be thrown away’.
He added that its ‘better that customers can enjoy it at a great price’ while the companies 900 pubs remain open.
Cider and lager will stay the same price, as these stocks will survive lockdown, but real ale will not last.
A busy Fort Shopping park in Birmingham this morning, as people shop for goods ahead of the national lockdown
Couples and families are banned from shopping together at supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose as stores bid to cut queues and aid social distancing in second lockdown
Supermarkets have reminded Britons that couples and families should not shop together in a bid to aid social distancing measures ahead of England’s new winter lockdown.
Stores across the nation have reemphasised a raft of rules to keep shoppers safe ahead of the latest coronavirus lockdown, which comes into force in England at midnight tonight.
Brands including Aldi, Morrisons and Tesco previously shared details of priority shopping access for the elderly and NHS workers, which will likely remain in place throughout the four-weeks of restrictions.
Sainsbury’s has today reminded customers to shop alone wherever possible in a bid to cut queues and aid social distancing inside its stores.
In a statement, CEO Simon Roberts said: ‘Where possible, we ask that you only send one adult per household when you shop with us.This will help us manage the number of people in our stores and make your shop quicker and smoother.’
A notice on the supermarket’s website adds: ‘Our store teams will be asking groups with more than one adult to choose one adult to shop and will ask other adults to wait. Children are welcome if they are not able to stay at home.’
Advice from Tesco currently asks that ‘only one person from each household comes in-store to do their shopping’.
Those at Waitrose have taken a similar stance, asking customers to ‘help us manage the number of people in our shops by sending only one member of the household to do their shopping.’
The guidance adds: ‘While this won’t be possible for everybody, we are very grateful for our customers’ support during this time of uncertainty.’
Aldi is also encouraging customers to shop alone, with current advice stating: ‘In order to help with social distancing, we are encouraging all customers to try and reduce the number of family members they bring with them into our stores.
‘Where necessary we are using discretion, but like all supermarkets we’re asking people to come alone if possible to support social distancing in our stores.’
This guidance has been in place throughout the pandemic in many of the aforementioned stores.
Supermarkets across Britain first introduced measures banning multiple members of a family from shopping together in March, when Boris Johnson announced a draconian lockdown due to the growing pandemic.
The Fort Shopping park in Birmingham was crammed today as people flocked to the shops
Shoppers braved the chilly temperatures as they waited outside the Primark store in Sunderland this morning
Keen bargain hunters in Newcastle hit the shops and stocked up on clothes, homeware and Christmas presents today
Northumberland Street in Newcastle was thronging with crowds this morning – and it likely to be significantly quieter this time tomorrow
Key points in COVID lockdown Mark 2
- People can only leave their homes for specific reasons, such as to do essential shopping, for outdoor exercise, and for work if they are unable to work from home.
- Non-essential shops will be told to shut
- Restaurants and bars will be told to close unless they can operate a takeaway service.
- Travel abroad is only permitted for ‘essential’ reasons such as work, people can still return to the UK from abroad.
- Leisure centres, gyms, sporting venues, hairdressers and beauty parlours will have to close, although professional sport will continue.
- Key businesses that cannot operate remotely – such as construction – should carry on as before.
- Places of worship can stay open for private prayer. Funerals are limited to close family only.
- The furlough scheme will be extended during the period of the lockdown
- Exercise is permitted with no limits on frequency, but organised sports – including outdoor activities such as golf – will not be permitted.
Here we go again! From work to gym to going to the salon, what you can and can’t do as we prepare for a second lockdown
This month’s lockdown will not be the same as spring’s. Schools will stay open, and we can still meet one person from another household outside.
More people will carry on travelling in to work, and the elderly will not be ordered to ‘shield’ indoors.
Here’s a handy guide to what the new rules mean for you and your loved ones…
FRIENDS AND FAMILY
- All home visits – including in gardens – are banned unless you are part of a support bubble. The ban includes partners who live elsewhere.
- Unlike in the first lockdown, you can – when on your own – meet one friend, relative or partner from another household outdoors, to exercise or sit in a park
- Children under school age will not count towards this two-person total, health minister Nadine Dorries tweeted last night. This means, for example, that two new mothers could bring their babies for a chat in the park. Adults who require round-the-clock care will also not be counted in the total.
- Playgrounds will remain open – unlike last time – meaning children can still play on the swings.
- Children of separated parents may continue to move between both homes.
NURSERIES, SCHOOLS AND CHILDCARE
- Educational institutions, from nurseries and schools to colleges and universities, will remain open.
- Childminders can carry on working. ‘Childcare bubbles’ will also still be valid – meaning grandparents can care for children after school.
- After-school clubs and youth groups will stop for the next month.
- Universities have been asked to shift more lectures online where possible.
- Students cannot return home to see family until the end of term.
Unlike in the first lockdown, you CAN meet a friend, relative or partner from another household outdoors, to exercise or sit in a park
If you must take public transport, avoid busy times and routes. Always wear a mask and maintain social distancing where possible
The quirks of the new lockdown rules
- You can get a takeaway pint but only if you order online, by phone or by post
- Children can play team sports in school but not outside
- Public parks and stately gardens are allowed to stay open, but not botanical gardens
- You’ll be allowed to jog with a friend but you can’t play singles tennis
- Public land fishing is allowed but going to an angling club will be banned
- You can go for a walk with a friend and your three-year-old, but not your six-year-old
- Swimming pools and lidos will be closed but you’ll be allowed to swim in the sea or a lake
- Private prayer in places of worship is allowed, but not congregational
- Cleaners, carers and trade workers are allowed to work in your home
- You can meet people you don’t live with – but only one-to-one and only outdoors for exercise or recreation
GOING TO WORK
- Everybody who can work from home should do so.
- If you cannot do your job from home then you can continue to travel in. Examples include those in construction or manufacturing.
- Those whose work involves going into others’ homes – such as plumbers and cleaners – may continue to do so.
- Those deemed ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ – such as cancer patients – should work from home or claim Statutory Sick Pay.
- Workers currently on furlough will continue to be paid 80 per cent of their wages through November, up to a maximum of £2,500.
VULNERABLE PEOPLE AND CARE HOMES
- The elderly and those who are clinically vulnerable are not being asked to shield this time – unlike during the first lockdown.
- They will, however, be advised to be follow the rules carefully and minimise social contact.
- Older people should not refrain from exercise. They are encouraged to get some fresh air or walk the dog.
- New guidance on care home visits is expected later this week. Current restrictions are in place until then.
- If you need to care for a vulnerable person, such as a family member or neighbour, you are allowed to do so.
- Travelling outside your local area should be avoided, and the number of trips taken should be reduced.
- Going to medical appointments and the shops is still allowed.
- You can even travel for exercise, as long as it is a short journey.
- If you must take public transport, avoid busy times and routes. Always wear a mask and maintain social distancing where possible.
- Going on holiday is banned. Overseas travel is allowed for work or essential trips only.
- Travelling to holiday homes is also outlawed. Hotel stays are only allowed for work reasons.
- If you are already on holiday, you do not have to travel home straight away. Those in countries with ‘travel corridors’ won’t need to self-isolate upon their return.
Going on holiday is banned. Overseas travel is allowed for work or essential trips only
Hairdressers and beauty salons will be shut again, as will massage parlours and tanning salons
SHOPS AND LEISURE
- Supermarkets, food shops and pharmacists will remain open – meaning there is no need to head out and panic-buy.
- Non-essential retail outlets, from car showrooms to clothing shops, will remain closed until the lockdown is over.
- Those offering click-and-collect options can continue to operate – meaning that, unlike last time, you will be able to order some items online and pick them up in person.
- Restaurants, cafes and pubs will all shut their doors to sit-in customers – but can carry on providing a takeaway service.
- Alcohol cannot be served, however, meaning no repeat of the summer’s ‘takeaway pint’ phenomenon seen at many pubs.
- Garden centres will be allowed to remain open.
- Leisure facilities – such as gyms, swimming pools and soft play facilities – will be shut.
- Golf courses and riding centres will close too, despite the activities largely taking place outdoors.
- Hairdressers and beauty salons will be shut again, as will massage parlours and tanning salons.
- Cinemas, theatres and bingo halls will also be forced to close their doors, along with zoos and botanical gardens.
- GP surgeries and many hospitals will stay open for both urgent and non-urgent appointments.
- Jobcentres will also continue to help people find work.
- Courts and register offices will continue to operate, with a view to preventing more backlogs.
- Food banks and blood donation services will continue to operate, too.
- Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or bereavement services, will have a limit of 15 people per session.
Weddings and civil partnerships will not be allowed to go ahead unless there are exceptional circumstances
WEDDINGS, FUNERALS AND WORSHIP
- Places of worship will be closed unless it is for a funeral, individual prayer, broadcasted acts of worship, formal childcare, blood donation, food banks or support groups.
- Churches, mosques and synagogues can open their doors for individual worship but communal services are banned.
- As is currently the case, funerals may be attended by a maximum of 30 people.
- Weddings and civil partnerships will not be allowed to go ahead unless there are exceptional circumstances.